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Cancer Facts:



  • In the United States, approximately 8,600 children were diagnosed with cancer and about 1,500 children died from the disease in 2001.

  • This makes cancer the leading cause of death by disease among U.S. children under age 15.

  • Among the 12 major types of childhood cancers, leukemias, brain and other central nervous system tumors account for over one-half of the new cases.

  • About one-third of childhood cancers are leukemias; approximately 2,700 children (younger than 15 years) were diagnosed with leukemia in 2001.

  • The most common type of leukemia in children is acute lymphocytic leukemia.

  • The most common solid tumors are brain tumors (e.g., gliomas and medulloblastomas), with other solid tumors (e.g., neuroblastomas, Wilms’ tumors, and rhabdomyosarcomas) being less common.

  • Over the past 20 years, there has been an increase in the incidence of children diagnosed with all forms of invasive cancer; from 11.4 cases per 100,000 children in 1975 to 15.2 per 100,000 children in 1998.

  • Children treated with chemotherapy and radiation therapy for certain forms of childhood and adolescent cancers, such as Hodgkin’s disease, brain tumors, sarcomas, and others, may develop a second primary malignancy.

  • Certain types of chemotherapy drugs, including drugs that are alkylating agents (e.g. cyclophosphamide or cytoxan, cisplatin, ifosfamide, thiotepa) or topoisomerase II inhibitors (e.g. etoposide), may cause increased risk of leukemia.

- Source: National Cancer Institute Research on Childhood Cancers, Cancer Facts, February 12, 2002.




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